Symantec Backup Exec 2010 review

It’s been a long wait but Symantec finally adds deduplication to its flagship Windows backup software. We put the latest Backup Exec 2010 to the test to see what storage savings it can deliver.

After the first full backup was completed, two per cent of the data was modified in 40 per cent of the files prior to each subsequent backup. Using BE2010's reporting facilities we saw that after a two-week simulation it achieved a deduplication ratio of 3.6:1 showing reasonable storage savings. ARCserve proved to more efficient as in exactly the same test it returned a ratio of 5.3:1.

We also tested deduplication by backing up the system drives on four Windows client systems. The total amount of data backed up was 35.5GB but the datastore only contained 23GB of data resulting in an initial deduplication ratio of 1.6:1 and a storage saving of 35 per cent.

We weren't overly impressed with the reporting facilities for deduplication as all BE2010 offers are summaries of these jobs showing storage statistics, performance plus achieved ratios and another for the deduplication device.

ARCserve's reporting is more sophisticated as it provides graphs and pie charts showing nodes involved in deduplication, storage savings over time and historical data. In fact, ARCserve's reporting tools generally provide a lot more information about all things backup related.

This latest version of Backup Exec delivers an impressive range of new features and adding deduplication services finally brings it in line with much of the competition. Unlike ARCserve, this is optional feature but still good value if you want the extra support for client-side and third party deduplication storage devices.


Along with the deduplication option, this latest version of Backup Exec delivers plenty of other new features with the focus also on protecting virtualised environments. Deduplication does cost extra and the reporting facilities aren’t up to much but our tests show that good storage savings can be made. However, if you want free server-side deduplication and better reporting facilities then check out CA’s ARCserve r12.5.

Media server: Windows 2003, 2008, XP. Options: Deduplication Option for one media server, £1,232; File Server Archiving Option. £491; Exchange Archiving Option for 100 mailboxes, £1,204 (all ex VAT)

Dave Mitchell

Dave is an IT consultant and freelance journalist specialising in hands-on reviews of computer networking products covering all market sectors from small businesses to enterprises. Founder of Binary Testing Ltd – the UK’s premier independent network testing laboratory - Dave has over 45 years of experience in the IT industry.

Dave has produced many thousands of in-depth business networking product reviews from his lab which have been reproduced globally. Writing for ITPro and its sister title, PC Pro, he covers all areas of business IT infrastructure, including servers, storage, network security, data protection, cloud, infrastructure and services.